Archive for June, 2008

Berryz Koubou – Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance

June 28, 2008

WTF is this? Seriously?

When I saw the cover of the single, I thought – Oh Good! Maybe we’re going to be treated to a cool, upbeat pop song! Then I saw the title – and I thought – what the hell is this song about? And then I saw the PV and heard the song.

Now, I know in general the Japanese buying public is obsessed with all things cute. This is a cute, novelty song, but there is no way they are trying to market this song to the record buying adult public, the general non-wota public – it’s clear this song is marketed at kids. But that’s ok! They are young idols, so it would be smart to be marketing to the young ‘asking Mom to buy it for you’ public.

This might be fun for the younger set, but myself – I’ll have to pass.

Goto Maki signs with Avex!

June 19, 2008

Congratulations to ex-H!P member Goto Maki for garnering a deal that could only rocket her to even greater heights. Hello!Online has the full details here including a full translation of an article that appeared in newspapers on June 19.

Shame on H!P for letting a person of such talent as Maki go, I don’t want to take away from any of the girls who sing for H!P, but Maki was one of their real and true singers. The girl has a great voice. And considering she seems to be the one person from Momusu everyone in Japan names immediately once you say you are a fan or Morning Musume, double shame on them for letting one of their most recognizable talents go. What on earth prompted them to waste her so? She has some great singles, but they really seemed to be letting her go right before she decided to leave. Did they think she was old hat or something? That there was no where else they could take her? I’d really like to know the business decisions behind their move.

Whatever the case this is fantastic news for Maki, and I am so very excited to see what she has in store for us and where she can go from here. With Avex she’s at the starting line and she’s going to be with us for the long run yet. She might be one of the few “talents” who break away from their parent agency only to find even greater fame and fortune in the embrace of another.

Go Maki-chan! Go!

Sakurai Atsushi – Ai no Wakusei (It’s hypnotic!)

June 12, 2008

Sacrifice (Last Confused Mix) – This is just a fantastic song. I love it, and the perfect song to open the album with. It does a great job of showcasing Atsushi’s powerful vocals. His voice is almost like a drug. You have no idea how much I love this man.

Anyway this song was arranged by Wayne Hussey, formerly of Sisters of Mercy! (Oh yeah!) You can check out the video here.

Yellow Pig – A collaboration with Raymond Watts of KMFDM (and also of Schwein), this song shows it. It’s a very hard sounding song with heavy guitar work. Very industrial, the most hardcore song on the album.

I would love to have Atsushi and Raymond collaborate more, as the Schwein album has some really kick ass rock songs on it. (They’re not all gems, but the opening track in particular is ecstasy).

X-Lover – Holy damn is this song sexy. Incredibly sexy. Like dirty talk, using his deep and whispery voice, Atsushi is beyond hypnotic. Ah, I’m breathless. Video here but be warned, NSFW.

I Hate you all – This is really kind of an odd track on the album. With Big Band era percussion, strange build ups in music, strange video game-esque background music (it sounds like the music from Zombies ate my Neighbors), odd scatting and then Atsushi’s filtered vocals. This is the only track on the album I tend to skip.

Wonderful World (Injection to UK mix) – Another favorite track on the album. Very soothing, almost like a lullaby. Nice guitar work, switching back and forth between chords almost like you’re being rocked. (I fell asleep on the train last week listening to this album, at this song). This would definitely top my list of songs on this album to cruise to on a warm summer night, also a walking song. One of those songs you sing when you’re out walking by yourself.

Smell – One of the singles released off the album. The chorus is the best part of the song (as Atsushi is singing more than speaking the lyrics). The guitar work here is a little, I’m not quite sure how to describe it, plucky? Not strumming but plucking the strings. It doesn’t flow but each note is distinct by itself. Another song I find myself singing while working.

Märchen – A beautiful song and a collaboration with Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins! Gorgeous guitar work, very hypnotic and dreamlike, though if you’re familiar with the Cocteau Twins you wouldn’t expect anything less. Another cruise song and one that definitely gets play a lot.

Fantasy – I absolutely adore the music box sound of this song, it’s almost a visual sound. I love Atsushi’s bad ass songs, but damn, if his voice isn’t the most hypnotic thing ever when he’s singing softly. Definitely one of my favorite tracks on the album. Live version here.

Taiji – This song is incredibly sad despite the harder rock sound it has. Basically a goodbye song to his Mother who died when Atsushi was 25, the resounding cry of “Aishiteru!” really grabs at your heart. With lyrics about never hearing his Mother’s voice again, and watching the sky alone….. I’m actually a little disconcerted by how happy the guitar player is while rocking out to a song with lyrics like this.

Hallelujah – The song is a come down after the emotional intensity of Taiji, though it does take a harder turn right as the song ends.

Shingetsu – Atsushi and Masami Tsuchiya have worked together before on two incredible pieces from Tsuchiya’s “Mori no Hito” album. (My favorite of the two being Manatsu no Yoru no Mori). While this song doesn’t stand out as much as their previous works, it is an incredibly solid song, and just as atmospheric.

Yokan (2004 re-construct) – I would be entirely surprised if this song wasn’t inspired by The Cure because it sounds like a lost track off Disintegration. The charms start up in the beginning and you think you’re about to launch into Plainsong or Pictures of You…. except it’s not a Cure song. Really good nonetheless. This is a… not quite a remix, but as the title suggests, a re-construct of Atsushi’s first solo song release.

Wakusei – Title track! This is a solid rock song, great guitar and a great drum beat. I like the echoing effect as well on Atsushi’s voice, it gives the song a rehearsal at the concert hall feel to it.

Neko – This song reminds me a lot, emotionally, of one of my favorite Buck-Tick tracks of all time, Cosmos. A really great track to end the album with, as once again, Atsushi is at his hypnotic best here.

When I first bought this album, I’ll admit, I had some trepidation. Everyone knows a band they absolutely would die for, only to buy the lead singer’s solo works and be seriously underwhelmed by it. coughDaveGahancough. However upon first listen I was blown away by it. It’s remained on constant play for over a month now. Ai no Wakusei is so far the only complete solo album released by Atsushi. It stands up extremely well on it’s own against his Buck-Tick work, at times even surpassing it, and I would definitely recommend this album to anyone.

MAKOTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

June 7, 2008

Ogawa Makoto is coming back to H!P!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hello!Online has all the info, so you can check it there. Or here at HNPH

Needless to say I am freaking ECSTATIC!

Even though Gatas is awesome, I demand Mako, Yossie and Konkon unit! And Tsuji too! Come back soon Tsuji!